2 May 1998

Democrats Accuse DAB of Deliberately Misrepresenting Record

In response to harsh attacks at debates, Democratic Party Chairman Martin Lee today charged their opponents in the Democratic Alliance for the Betterment of Hong Kong with deliberately misrepresenting his Legislative Council record from 1991 and said: "These distortions are clearly in order to distract voters' attention from the DAB's own embarrassing recent record in the Provisional Legislature, including their absolute failure to check the government, their rubber-stamping of bad laws and their damaging erosion of the rule of law."

In a debate broadcast last Thursday, Gary Cheng Kai-nam, the Democratic Alliance for the Betterment of Hong Kong's ticket leader on Hong Kong island, alleged that Martin Lee had wanted to leave no reserves for the SAR. Gary Cheng said:

"Your party talks about economic issues in your election platform, but your party chief Martin Lee Chu-ming has said the pre-handover government ought not to leave even ten cents for the SAR government."

Martin Lee countered:

"This is absolute rubbish. The DAB is deliberately misrepresenting my remarks during an April 1991 Legislative Council debate. As fully set out in the Hansard, I moved a motion on autonomy. Mr. Cheng has totally distorted clause b) of this motion. A close look at the whole motion and the debate accompanying it (17 April, 1997) reveals my intentions. Indeed, my speech from the debate on this clause begins:

"I wish to emphasize that this sub-paragraph does not touch upon the level of reserves that is to be left to the HKSAR Government in 1997; the sole question it addresses is who is to have control over those reserves between now and 1997." (Relevant Hansard pages attached).

Full text of the 1991 motion:

"That this Council urges the Government to make public all the details of any agreement reached with the PRC Government concerning the proposed Port and Airport Development Strategy; and further, urges the Government:

a) to protect the high degree of autonomy presently enjoyed by the Hong Kong Government and which ought to be enjoyed by the SAR Government after 1997 and refuse to allow PRC Government-nominated representative to sit on any executive or advisory body in Hong Kong, including the Airport Authority;

b) to respect Hong Kong's financial autonomy and not agree to set aside any portion of Hong Kong's fiscal reserves in trust for the post-1997 SAR Government, except as specifically provided for the Annex III of the Joint Declaration in relation to the "Land Fund;

c) to ensure that consultation with the PRC Government does not mean giving the power of veto to the PRC Government on any matter relating to the internal affairs of Hong Kong."

* * *

Hong Kong Standard

Democrats, pro-Beijing rivals clash over reserve fund issue


By Carmen Cheung

TOP Democrats and their pro-Beijing rivals clashed heatedly again yesterday in a public debate, this time over the reserve fund.

Cheng Kai-nam, of the Democratic Alliance for the Betterment of Hong Kong, accused Democratic Party vice-chairman Yeung Sum of refusing to clarify an alleged remark made by DP boss Martin Lee Chu-ming that the entire fund be spent before the handover.

The sharp exchange came during a lively two-hour election forum conducted by RTHK in Central.

All three are their parties' top candidates in the Hong Kong Island constituency.

Mr Cheng challenged the Democrats on the fund, saying Mr Lee had suggested the outgoing British administration should not leave anything for the Special Administrative Region.

``Your party also talks about economic issues in your election platform, but your party chief Martin Lee Chu-ming has said the pre-handover government ought not to leave even 10 cents for the SAR government,'' Mr Cheng said.

Dr Yeung only replied: ``Our party disagrees to abolish the peg.''

Mr Cheng repeated the question and Dr Yeung again gave an indirect answer: ``Our party's position on the reserve fund has been very clear.''

When Mr Cheng tried a third time, Dr Yeung retorted: ``Our party chief has never said things which are different from the party.''

Mr Lee, a barrister, was absent as he was in court defending radio talk show host Albert Cheng King-hon.

The exchange came about when Dr Yeung asked the DAB to define its position on the issue of asking the Central Government to reverse its verdict on the 4 June 1989 crackdown and on the release of jailed dissidents.

Mr Cheng replied: ``I've said about 1,000 times, history will judge the incident and we at the DAB felt the Chinese students are righteous and our party disagreed with the shooting of the students.''

Hitting back, Mr Cheng then asked the Democrats to define their position on the reserve fund.

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